There is little doubt that the vast majority of AAA game releases in 2017 were haunted by the specter of microtransactions. Star Wars Battlefront 2 took most of the flak from online communities and word of mouth quickly spread about the game’s borderline pay to win loot box mechanics, but it was definitely not alone. Middle-earth: Shadow of War also received a fair bit of criticism, as did Call of Duty: WWII, though it would be fairly safe to say that neither game managed to disappoint people as much as Destiny 2. To be fair, no game is perfect, and none of the aforementioned games could ever be considered perfect, but only Destiny 2 had the dubious honor of inspiring what appears to be a vast majority of the more vocal members of its relatively loyal audience to take up arms and protest, well, pretty much everything about the game.
Needless to say, a lot of the criticism was rightfully directed at Eververse, Destiny 2’s in-game microtransaction store. After all, locking cosmetic items behind a paywall (or sheer luck) is nothing new these days, but locking season pass and holiday event items behind the same paywall is just asking for trouble. It certainly didn’t help that the game’s first DLC, Curse of Osiris, completely failed to reinvigorate the community thanks to its incredibly disappointing storyline and meager gameplay improvements, causing no small number of people to voice their displeasure at the direction Destiny 2 was evidently heading in. Amusingly enough, Bungie’s own forums are quite literally choked with pleas to remove or revamp Eververse, a last and rather desperate cry for help that has seemingly fallen on deaf ears.
Even if Eververse were to be completely removed from Destiny 2, however, as many are requesting, one can’t help but wonder whether or not that would do actually do anything to improve the state of the game. At the most basic level, Destiny 2 is, frankly, not as engaging as the first game, which is saying something when the first Destiny was (once again) rather justifiably heavily criticized for everything imaginable. The loot is decidedly less interesting, the PvP element is rather bland compared to what’s available on the market, the overall depth of Destiny 2 gives the impression that the game was rushed, and it is rather inexcusable that there exists a number of gameplay and QoL issues in Destiny 2 that were solved in the original Destiny’s various post-launch updates, and those are just some of the more pressing and obvious issues that people are concerned about. Indeed, given the many, many flaws of Destiny 2, it raises questions as to whether or not Eververse may have been an attempt by Bungie to siphon as much money as possible out of its audience before word got out that their latest game may as well be an example of how to take one step forward and two steps back.
Let’s imagine that, as unlikely as the scenario may be, Bungie decides to remove Eververse from Destiny 2 completely and they manage to fix every single gameplay issue that people have with the game. Destiny 2 would thus go down in history as a story of redemption to be sure, but the legacy of one of the most renowned developers of our time will forever be tarnished. You don’t need to look very far to see the damage that the Destiny series has done to the Bungie name; within several years, Bungie went from being this company that could be relied upon to produce genre defining First Person Shooters to being a company that can barely tell a coherent story, a company that lost at least two of its most high profile senior members before Destiny was even released, a company that gave a microtransaction vendor more voice lines than the Player Character. Perhaps Bungie can eventually salvage Destiny 2, but the damage has been done, and there are going to be a lot of people that are going to be on the fence about buying Destiny 3.
It is a rather ironic twist of fate that Bungie, much like the Covenant in the Halo franchise, inflicted a great many wounds upon itself through infighting and pride—wounds that might never heal as once zealous supporters question what is going on behind the scenes. Oh how the mighty have fallen, not through the actions and desires of others (for once, Activision isn’t entirely to blame considering how none of the other games published by them have anything quite as hated as Eververse), but by one’s own hand.